It is said that the only thing mankind knows is the past and the present. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. For that matter, we don't know what the next few seconds will bring.
But one thing is certain.
I could use these pictures to speak metaphorically about several things; the passing of loved ones; the dying of a place I once loved; the unknowns I'm personally facing; or I could use this opportunity to gently write about the fate of your eternal future.
But I'm not going to write about any of that tonight.
I just wanted to post these pictures taken at Ft Gibson National Cemetery in Talequah, OK with just a bit of history to explain them.
In 1868, the Cherokee Nation donated 7 acres near Ft Gibson for exclusive use as a national cemetery.
Considering the history of the Cherokee, the Trail of Tears, Indian Territory, and the settling of Oklahoma, that seems like an amazingly generous gift. Over the years, more land was alloted and it's now at 48 acres.
The history of the 1830s Native Americans "relocation" is complex and sad. One of those pieces of family history that we don't talk about. The forced relocation is known as the Trail of Tears and Talequah is where it ended. The fort was established in 1833, on a plot of land within the Cherokee nation.
There are over 19,000 people buried here, many from the 1800s. Soldiers, officers, and their wives & children are buried here. The little stones in the picture above, I think, represent unknowns? I don't remember.
Below is the monument of a surgeon who served in the 2nd Indian Home Guard, Kansas Infantry. Captured by the Confederates during the Civil War, he escaped & served as the doctor at the fort. He died in 1867. His wife died in 1917 and is also buried here.
Others include a Boston society girl, who masqueraded as a man & served in the army for 24 years. A Ft Gibson Post Commander, who died of wounds received at Harper's Ferry during the Civil War. A Confederate Lieutenant. An 1827 West Point graduate.Veterans of the War of 1812, War with Mexico, WW I & II, and several Native Americans who served in the Home Guard, two of whom died in Indian Territory before Okla became a state.
This is one of the most interesting gravesites. Talahina was the Cherokee wife of General Sam Houston. It's said that she refused to accompany him to Texas. She was originally buried by the Arkansas river, but as the wife of an army officer, her remains were moved to Ft Gibson, to forever rest in the location around the flagpole known as the "Officer's Circle." However, there appears to be a lot of question about her story, which has become legend, and even whether Talahina was her real name and was she really married to Gen. Houston.
The reason I was even at the cemetery, is that my husband performed the internment service for another veteran and the father of our friends.
There's nothing like a military ceremony to make you cry. From the haunting sound of "Taps" being played a distance away, to the folding of the flag, it's hard to hold back tears.
The family released balloons at the end of the service.
Lest you think this is the grave digging for our friend's father....
The cemetery is doing some upkeep on the headstones; straightening those that have settled over time.
Nothing stays the same, does it?